ABN - Anglo American’s diamond division De Beers launched the world’s biggest diamond exploration ship off the coast of Namibia seeking to consolidate high production levels until 2035.
The 12,000 tonne, US$157 million SS Nujoma will enable Debmarine Namibia, a 50/50 joint venture between Nambia’s government and De Beers to explore diamonds and secure supply beyond the next 20 years.
The SS Nujoma, named after Sam Nujoma Namibia’s founding president, is the first of a fleet of five ships dedicated to marine exploration and sampling.
The vessel will utilise a range of new technologies allowing it to sample faster, take larger samples and collect more information per sample than its predecessor.
De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said: “Offshore diamond mining is becoming increasingly important in meeting global demand for diamonds as many of the major onshore deposits have now been discovered. The mv SS Nujoma will allow even more of Namibia’s high quality offshore diamonds to be discovered and mined, ensuring a strong future for Namibia’s diamond industry, as well as the global diamond market.
Having started in offshore exploration in 2002, Debmarine Namibia remains the only company to mine diamonds offshore. The company produced around 1.2 million carats in 2016.
Otto Shikongo, Debmarine Namibia CEO said: “The important collaboration between all parties involved, and the exceptional efforts of those who worked on the vessel’s construction, fitting and sea trials, has seen this impressive vessel delivered three months ahead of schedule and on budget.”
Diamond mining is the single biggest contributor to Namibia’s economy, the partnership between the De Beers Group and the Namibian government delivers more than N$10 billion in revenue per year.